How to Write Hand in Chinese: A Comprehensive Guide

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How to Write Hand in Chinese: A Comprehensive Guide

Learning to write Chinese characters can seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re a beginner. However, with a systematic approach and regular practice, you can master this beautiful and intricate script. In this guide, we will focus on the character for “hand” (手 shǒu) and explore various aspects, including stroke order, pronunciation, and common radicals.

Character Breakdown

Before delving into the writing process, it’s essential to understand the structure of the character itself. The character for “hand” consists of four distinct strokes, as displayed below:

Strokes Character
Stroke 1 横 (héng) – horizontal stroke
Stroke 2 竖 (shù) – vertical stroke
Stroke 3 撇 (piě) – left-falling stroke
Stroke 4 捺 (nà) – right-falling stroke

As you can see, the character “hand” possesses a balanced arrangement of these four strokes, resulting in a visually appealing representation of the concept.

Stroke Order

Now that we have identified the component strokes, let’s delve into the correct stroke order for writing the character “hand.” Adhering to proper stroke order is crucial as it contributes to the overall harmony and clarity of the character.

The correct stroke order for writing “hand” is as follows:

  1. Start by writing the horizontal stroke (横) from left to right.
  2. Next, write the vertical stroke (竖) downwards, intersecting the midpoint of the horizontal stroke.
  3. Continue with the left-falling stroke (撇). It should flow smoothly from the bottom of the vertical stroke toward the bottom-left corner.
  4. Finally, conclude the character by writing the right-falling stroke (捺). Begin from the bottom of the left-falling stroke and slant it diagonally towards the bottom-right corner, giving it a graceful touch.

Remember, practicing stroke order diligently will not only enhance the aesthetics of your writing but also improve your overall comprehension and muscle memory for Chinese characters.


While this guide primarily focuses on writing the character “hand,” it’s essential to understand its pronunciation. In Mandarin Chinese, “hand” is pronounced as “shǒu” (声调 shēng diào: 3rd tone). To ensure accurate pronunciation, pay attention to the tonal inflection, which distinguishes one word from another.

Listening to audio recordings or enlisting the help of a native Mandarin speaker can significantly assist you in mastering the correct pronunciation.

Radicals: Unveiling the Hidden Meanings

Chinese characters are often composed of radicals, which are basic graphical building blocks. Radicals give clues to the character’s meaning, pronunciation, or both. Unraveling the radicals within a character can provide additional insight into the language and facilitate your learning process. In the case of the character “hand,” the radical is the “手” (shǒu) radical.

By combining the “手” (shǒu) radical with other radicals or components, you can form numerous related characters, such as “拳” (quán – fist), “抓” (zhuā – to grab), or “持” (chí – to hold). Recognizing these “family resemblances” will enable you to expand your vocabulary and deepen your understanding of Chinese characters.

Writing Practice: Perfecting Your Handwriting

Learning Chinese characters necessitates continuous practice, and writing “hand” is an excellent starting point. Grab your writing materials and follow these steps:

  1. Begin by drawing grids on your practice sheet to maintain consistent character size and proportion.
  2. Write the character “hand” repeatedly, starting with larger characters to allow for fluid movements.
  3. Gradually reduce the size of the characters as you gain confidence and control over your strokes.
  4. Pay attention to stroke order, ensuring that each stroke flows naturally from the previous one.
  5. Review your writing periodically, comparing it to a reference guide or native speaker’s handwriting to identify and correct any inconsistencies or errors.

Remember, the key to improving your handwriting lies in consistent practice, patience, and a willingness to learn from your mistakes. Don’t be discouraged if your initial attempts fall short of perfection. With time and dedication, you will witness significant progress.


Mastering the art of writing Chinese characters may seem like an arduous endeavor, but breaking it down into manageable steps can transform it into an achievable goal. By focusing on the character for “hand” (手), practicing stroke order diligently, recognizing radicals, and embracing consistent writing practice, you pave the way for success.

Stay motivated, immerse yourself in the beauty of the Chinese script, and gradually expand your knowledge of this fascinating language. With determination and perseverance, you’ll not only conquer “hand” but a multitude of characters, unlocking an entire world of communication and understanding.

Wishing you the best of luck on your journey to master the art of writing Chinese!

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How to Write Hand in Chinese: A Comprehensive Guide